Average consumer credit scores have gone up during this year’s pandemic because of government relief efforts and lifestyle changes. However, credit scores may ultimately drop as delayed financial strains surface. This may ultimately require debt relief for cash-strapped consumers.
The average credit score in this country was 711 earlier this month according to the commonly used credit score known as FICO. This is five points higher than 2019. Fair Isaac Corp, which markets the proprietary algorithm FICO utilized by the three major credit bureaus, reported this information.
FICO scores range from 300 to 850. Banks and lenders use these scores to consider a consumer’s credit risk. Lower scores may require borrowers to pay higher interest rates or put more money up front. Borrowers with low FICO scores may also be ineligible for loans, credit cards or other financial products.
Determining credit scores
A borrower’s credit utilization ration plays an important role in setting a credit score. During the pandemic, families that were not among the worst off financially were able to obtain credit relief that allowed them to pay off debt faster.
First, they were able to use part of their government issued stimulus checks. Families also saved money by not going out for dinner, traveling, or giving up recreation or entertainment. Extremely low interest rates also allowed home refinancing and lowered their monthly payments.
A financial expert said that borrowers placed a greater priority on their financial condition so they could qualify for lower interest rates on homes and cars. Many consumers focused on repairing their credit to increase their eligibility for lower rates.
Agreements with auto finance firms, student loan companies or credit card companies have protected consumers who are not paying these credit accounts. These business are likely reporting nonpaying creditors as paid as agreed which maintains or protects their credit scores.
Clouds on the horizon
Consumers may be facing future problems, however. There is a delay when a major economic event takes place and when these events are reflected in FICO scores.
Millions of Americans who are now unemployed are falling behind on their bills and maximizing their credit card use. Ultimately their FICO scores will fall. In the 2007-2009 great recession, credit scores did not reach their lowest point until months after that crisis ended.
An attorney can help you develop a plan to deal with debt. They can also represent your interests with creditors and collection agencies.